If you start manufacturing them now you'll have made everyone their Christmas presents by the end of August!
They are very simple to make and you don't need a sewing machine.
I made this one in about an hour from start to finish.
You will need:
- A hot water bottle (I got mine from Boots- it cost about £6)
- An old woolley jumper/ sweater/ scarf/ blanket at least twice the size of the hottie. It must be at least 80% pure wool. Wash it in a hot wash (about 60 oC with normal detergent) and or tumble dry so that it shrinks and becomes felted. You could use synthetic fleece instead.
- Tissue paper/ newspaper/ A3 peice of paper
- Ruler/ tape measure or a rough guess at 1cm
- Darning needle and similar coloured or contrasting coloured darning wool (thin wool) or ordinary thread would do.
- Sewing machine
- Ribbon (about 30cm)
Step 1: Make the Pattern
Put your hottie (empty) on a big peice of tissue paper/ newspaper or junk mail.
Draw round it.
Move the hottie and fold it in half lengthwise.
Hold it lengthwise over the neck area of the drawing and make some marks that indicate how wide the neck will have to be to insert the bottle folded in half when its all sewn together.
Make sure your new 'neck' marks are symmetrical or you will have a lop-sided cover.
Extend the neck by the same distance again and add another 1cm for luck (I made mine a bit too short).
Add 1 cm seam allowance all round and cut out.
Step 2: Cut Out the Fabric Pieces.
This bit will depend on your fabric size.
My old scarf was quite wide and had tassles at the end which I thought would be nice to incorporate.
You might have a nice pattern/ picture that you want to have in the middle of your cover or perhaps you need to avoid a stain or hole.
You will need to cut two of your pattern peice (a front and back). Try to align the knit or weave direction the same for both pieces or it may distort weirdly.
I folded my scarf in half and aligned the pattern along the fold and the tassles. This meant that I didn't need the seam allowance of 1cm on one side or the bottom.
Pin and cut out.
Step 3: Sew It All Up
If you want to add any embellishments, e.g. applique hearts/ flowers/ letters or some embroidery, now is the time to sew whatever you want to the outside of one or both pieces.
Turn the pieces so that the outside of the fabric faces are together. (inside out) and pin the edges.
Leave the top of the neck open (and in my case the bottom edge too)
Sew along the seam allowance (1cm in) by hand using backstitch (see my other instructable for how to backstitch) or using a sewing machine.
I stupidly pinned and sewed the bottom edge of mine too, only to discover that when I turned it rightside out the tassles were all hidden inside. Doh!! I unpicked the bottom seam and sewed it when the cover was turned the right way out and the tassles hung on the outside!
Carefully snip ALMOST but not right up to the seam at the corner where the neck meets the body and carefully snip little notches out of the seam allowance of both 'shoulders'. This helps the fabric sit nicely when you turn it right side out.
Step 4: Hem the Neck
Turn the cover the right way out.
I then sewed the bottom hem of mine so that the tassles were on the outside. I could have made the stitches more decorative.
Fold your (empty) hottie in half lengthwise and slip it into the cover. It is a little tricky opening it out once its inside but you shouldn't have too much trouble.
Then fold down the neck to the inside so that it overlaps the top of the neck by about 1 or 2 cm.
Mine was quite short so once folded to the inside there wasn't much else I could do but if your neck bit was much longer, you could fold in to the inside first, hem it and then fold it down to the ouside to the right length like a roll-neck/ polo neck. I tried this with a different one and it looks great (Roll neck V.2).
Alternatively if you want the roll-neck look but are a bit short of fabric, then unpick the neck seams most of the way down and re-sew them with the seam allowance on the OUTSIDE. Then, when you fold the top of the neck over at the top and tuck a bit under at the bottom of the neck (Roll neck V.1), you don't see the side seams on the outside.
Pin the hem how you want it and then turn the cover inside out again and overedge stitch the hem. (See my other instructable for how to do this stitch)
Step 5: Finish.
I didn't like the way the neck looked so I made a little scarf out of leftover bits (you can see them at the side in step 2).
First I backstitched the ends of the strips together and then I folded the edges in so they overlapped eachother, (and enclosed the joining seam I just made). I blanket stitched along the edge (see my other instructable for how to blanket stitch).
Initially I sewed this with the sewing machine but it made an ugly linear dent along the scarf so I unpicked it and sewed it by hand.
Much nicer- especially as I could sit on the dorrstep in the sunshine with a cup of tea while I did it.
I then pinned and sewed the completed scarf to the outside, middle of the neck of the cover using backstitch again.
Reinsert hottie and tie a knot in the scarf and hey presto..... all done.
Other options would be a ribbon or cord. Just remember it needs to be cosy and comfy against your skin